Explore the most popular waterfall trails in George Washington National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
1 day ago

In short, the overlooks were underwhelming because of the rain/fog. The waterfalls made up for it and were overwhelming because of the amount of rain. May-Har trail was fantastic and with clear skies, the overlooks would have been too.

we loved this but our dog was way more excited to get to the top and splash around

An extraordinary ascent alongside cascading waterfalls the entire 1.5 miles each way. Ideal hike. Waterfalls with a bit of a workout .

Gorgeous views the entire way. Steep, but not too much to handle.

Walked in to the camp site and back. Was a difficult walk with the rocky trail but got better along the way. Crowed parking area, but people spread out enough to make a friendly trail but not crowded. Will do it again soon as an overnighter.

hiking
16 days ago

I love this hike! Our family has gone numerous times over the years, but this time I went with 2 friends who had never been. Everyone loved it! I would rate it moderate—the trail is well-marked, well-maintained, strenuous at times but certainly doable and plenty of interesting rest stops (5 waterfalls, a cave, stacked hikers’ rocks). We had a few muddy spots, but it had rained the night before so that was expected. Saw lots of families with dogs. We continued onto the Crabtree Meadows parking lot (Decent Bathroom stop there), then turned around to come back down. Apple Watch said 6 miles total.

hiking
17 days ago

we hiked this trail for the first time the other day. we went to see the falls. but got a bonus when we got the top in tine to see the sunset. i highly recommend this hike. will be going agin very soon!

backpacking
29 days ago

I would rate this hike as difficult. Some of the steepest terrain I have hiked on the AT. Made it an overnighter at Harpers Creek. Very crowded...but enjoyable! The only downside to me were the rocky trails. Really have to watch the ankles. Gorgeous views and some of the prettiest Forrest scenery around!

Breathtaking hike! It is technical enough to keep your focus but not so much that you can’t enjoy yourself. They are working to add more railings and improve safety, which is encouraging to see. I can’t wait to visit again!

hiking
1 month ago

I like this hike. It’s less than two hours drive from Richmond. If you’re a strong hiker you can do it in a day (7-9 hours), it has vistas, climbs, streams, waterfalls, rock scrambles, App Trail hikers to say hi to, a little bit of everything. And then at the end you can drive an AT through hiker to down to Devil’s Backbone at the base of the hill in exchange for him buying you a beer :)

I would call it difficult not moderate though.

camping
1 month ago

Myself and 5 of my students did the longer version of this hike. We parked off the parkway at mile post 23 and hiked down mine bank creek trail, then to st Mary’s river trail, then to st Mary’s fall trail. The hike was amazing, exploring the old mine was fun too. It’s very easy to find, the trail runs right through it. We had the first 2 trails to ourselves, but in the falls trail we ran into ~10 other people. All these people came in from the st Mary’s fall trail parking. After exploring the falls we hiked back and camped on the st Mary’s river trail. The next morning we hiked back out, which is a pretty rough, steep hike. However it follows a creek, so plenty of views and water. In total it was probably around 13 miles, but most of it was easy walking. The trail is not marked, but it was easy to find your way. Hiking to the falls up the falls trail is fun with all the creek crossings, but the campsites take away from it beauty. There’s many of them , large, trees smacked with machetes, and toilet paper. I would recommend camping on the river trail, far more secluded. I would do this trail again and look forward to doing it when it’s a bit warmer so we can swim!

We camped at the campsite and enjoyed this hike the climb up was a challenge in a good way. There was a few trees on the trail but nothing that hindered the experience. I will say the trail markings are all the same color and it appears to be off shoots of the main trail, we didn’t go down any of them but could be very confusing.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful Hike with a Waterfall and Mountain View

This hike is one of my favorites in the area, but think maybe it should be marked as hard. Great views at the end but also cool waterfalls on the way up. Trail is a bit confusing after the waterfalls and before the AT. Follow the signs to the trail head for a quarter mile up the hill. Great breweries on the way back to C’ville as a reward

This is one of my favorite hikes when I get out of class or on a weekend. I hit the falls first and then go to The Priest or Spy Rock for the tremendous views. On of the best in C’ville—views and waterfalls. The trail is a bit confusing for a quarter mile after the falls before the AT. Stay on the road and follow the signs

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike, with fantastic views on the second ridge. But not sure why this is marked as moderate—unless you break it into two days. For one day, it is difficult

hiking
1 month ago

While we had fun on this hike, the terrain varied like our emotions on the hike. The actual trail begins at the trail head of Boone’s Run which lead to some confusion. The trail is hard terrain and requires boots as it has insane changes in elevation, but amazing views and water scenery. There is no parking except on the street or by a shooting range.

hiking
1 month ago

Probably a little too ambitious for our first hike. The way down was tough on my knees. But the views were beautiful!

We hiked in and found a spot to set up camp for an overnight stay. Still wanting to explore a little further we set out to see the sights in the remaining daylight.

The river and streams were pristine. There was no avoiding traversing the waterways as they were clearly marked as part of the trail. Which by the way, is listed as moderate but by most folks’ standards, it would easily be considered difficult. The trail was rocky, steep and narrow (at many spots almost too narrow considering the drop off).

When you’re not crossing the river, the trail follows along side it from above at varying elevations. We spent the better part of day 2 enjoying the challenging hike and exploring the water access.

There’s an amazing swimming hole with its own natural slide along the way to the top. This spot is an absolute must stop! Not only is it lined with gorgeous smooth rock for picnicking, sitting or sunbathing on along the trail side but it butts right up to a beautiful jagged rock wall on the opposite side. The likes of which I have only seen in Mexico & the Caribbean. Surprisingly, we were the only ones taking advantage of the crystal clear water! It was invigorating to say the least. Even in July it was far from warm.

What we found at the top was better than what I could’ve imagined-a waterfall that spilled over into a pool from which another waterfall fell. The pool at the top was a bit more crowded but truly amazing and big enough to be shared.

This trail is one I won’t soon forget and definitely one I hope to return to in the near future!

This is an excellent hike for people who want to combine two moderate hikes, Crabtree Falls and its beautiful waterfalls, and Spy Rock and its 360 degree views, into one longer hike. It is over 12 miles with more than 3000 foot elevation gain so the hike is somewhat strenuous, but it provides a good 6-8 hour hike with some of the best waterfalls and stunning views that central Virginia has to offer. The hike can be crowded near the falls on a weekend and again near Spy Rock but over five miles between the two is mostly empty. This hike follows the Appalachian Trail and the well marked Crabtree Falls trails with a popular cut-through connecting them so it is easy to follow. Best in the late spring, summer, and fall.

Great hike today with my 12 year old son. He wanted to hike to a waterfall and it didn’t disappoint. Wear boots in spring. Lots of mud. Years ago I used it as an access trail to the AT. It’s a great place to start a section hike.

Beautiful vistas - especially the very first after hiking over Bee Mountain. Just a bit more difficult than moderate with some rocky and steep areas. We hiked with a pup and it was tough on her paws. Also longer than 12 miles total (closer to 15). Made it an overnight backpacking trip and camped at Harper’s Creek. Harper’s creek was flowing (March 31/April1 weekend) with quite a few other backpackers camping at the site. Good times.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice short hike. Great for kids.

Absolutely beautiful and stunning views. I would rate this hike moderate to difficult for the 40 something unconditioned hiker with bad knees. The trail was covered in snow and at times a sheet of ice and I am grateful I had a walking stick. I made it to the top and back with little issues. Slow and steady!!! The waterfall and the views from the top were completely awe inspiring. I was one of the last cars left in the parking lot. I saw deer and a black bear as I headed out

hiking
2 months ago

Did this on a sunny mid-March Sunday, with temperatures in the morning just above freezing and headed into the 60s by afternoon. The trail is strenuous -- and we did have to navigate some slick ice and snow on western side of the slope (in the winter shade). The clockwise loop includes some very steep ascents both early and late in the trail, but the views are very rewarding. The waterfalls on Mau-Har Trail are reminiscent of a mellower version of White Oak canyon -- but without the crowds. It's doable in a day if you're fit and hit the trail early, but you'll want lots of water and snacks. (We were on the trail for about 8 hours with breaks).

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike on a warm Sunday in March. Did it in a single day, took seven hours at a moderate pace. The distance came out as closer to 14 miles than 12. Still a lot of snow on the trail making it muddy on the AT going up to the ridges. Went counter-clockwise and enjoyed the water on the way down, but since most of the good views on the ridges are south and west facing, it meant the sun was in my face by the time I arrived at the ridges in the early afternoon. If you are a photographer, I would recommend going clockwise instead.

loved it!

hiking
2 months ago

There is something to be said for going on this hike in the winter....there are no leaves...you can see the falls on the entire hike. It was beautiful ...we are new to hiking...but we went to the top...no problem....would definitely do this again. trying spring next time!

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